Apr 092014
Julius Randle

Julius Randle

ESPN analyst Chad Ford was chatting about the NBA Draft over on ESPN.com Wednesday, and he brought up the rumblings that UK might lose more players than expected before next season.

Ford was asked who he thought would leave the Cats for the NBA:

“Julius Randle and James Young are, for sure, gone. I would say Willie Cauley-Stein too, but his comments the other day indicated he might not be a sure thing to leave. The Harrison twins have wanted to leave all year according to multiple sources around the twins, but their draft stock made them iffy first rounders. While they improved their stock, I’m not sure it’s to the point that they are clear first rounders. Andrew probably has the most claim, but he’s not a lock. Another year at Kentucky would help. Dakari Johnson would be a bubble first rounder as well. Ditto for Poythress. I think there’s a chance ALL of them are gone. There are certainly rumblings that direction. But the only three that really make sense right now are Randle, Young and Cauley-Stein.”

There has been more talk lately of a mass exodus of UK players leaving for the NBA. Those announcements should start happening over the next couple of weeks.

My prediction remains that Randle, Young, Cauley-Stein and the Harrison twins will declare for the draft.

Underclassmen who wish to enter the NBA Draft must complete their official paperwork by April 27.


  12 Responses to “Chad Ford: There’s ‘a chance’ UK loses seven to NBA”

  1. There is an argument for none of them leaving. Consider

    Julius Randle: He has short arms and was repeatedly “stuffed” by defenses. Also, for most of the season he was a turnover machine – forcing things. He finally learned how to pass and get an assist. He could use some more and skill honing to possibly become a 3 at times. Look at Thomas Robinson, Kansas – similar size and credentials and he’s done zero in the NBA. Heck, even Terrence Jones stayed 2 years and he is as good as Randle easily. Jones still spent the majority of his first year in the D-League too. Randle cannot play the brand of muscle ball he gets away with in College in the NBA…he’ll get crushed.

    James Young: He could improve his position significantly with one more season. His jumper is stills suspect and he tends to be a ball hog. His position of 17-25 could easily move to top 7 by staying one more year.

    Harrison Twins: Not ready – see Doron Lamb and Marquis Teague

    Marcus Lee, Poythress – not ready

    Willy Cauley-Stein: He needs one more year of college ball. He has not played BB for very long. He needs a bit more polish on offense and needs to get stronger. If not, he might be a shadow of Alex Ajinca who is just now getting some rotation minutes in his 4th year. Ajinca is taller too.

    Dakari Johnson – needs at least one more year to develop some skill

  2. I would hate this for multiple reasons: The fact we came so close and that we could get back there next year. Most are not ready. I selfishly want to dominate next year and would love this team, if I knew only Young, Randle and WCS were declaring. The media would kill us even more than they already do for these guys leaving. And finally, we’ll end up having a season like we did last year

  3. Mike T, you are absolutely wrong about Randle. He will have have enormous success in the league and the GMs know it. He can’t be double & triple teamed in the NBA. His double-double average will continue but his PPG will increase. Young should probably go as well. He is a sure 1st rounder and he may not increase his position much with another year in college. WCS on the otherhand while going in 1st round, will indeed increase his draft position with an additional year. He may stay because he is a 4.0 student and loves college. Poythress, Johnson and the twins would be foolish IMO to go to the draft unless they just dislike being a UK student. They all should improve their draft position enough to come out economically ahead by staying.

  4. They all need to stay specifically for a economic future you can’t play basketball forever.

  5. ZombyWolf, I don’t totally disagree with Mike T about Randle. He will be a top 5 pick but he does need to develope SF skills with a 15 to 20 foot jump shot. Also, Thomas Robinson was actually only 6’7″ tall even though Kansas listed him as 6’8″ and sometimes 6’9″
    WCS and Johnson should stay but there will be several big men in next years draft. With that being said, Young will not be able to increase his stock to a top 7 pick.
    The twins should stay but if one twin leaves they both are gone. I just hope they aren’t basing their decision on 3 shots.

  6. Staying another year would help both Randle and Young. They could improve their shots and ball handling skills. The remainder of the squad needs to work on their individual skills over the summer (especially free throw shooting), come back next year, mess with the new guys, beat everyone by 30, go undefeated, and bring home #9. What a dream!!!!

  7. Mike-T:

    Randle clearly should go. His stock will never be higher, and even if he another T Jones and spends some time in the d-league (which he probably will not as he is better than Jones was at this point) he will be getting paid several millions to do it. Look at Jones now… he has established himself as a starter just in time for his second contract. Randle staying around another year so every team can triple team him is a poor choice for him. He is ready for the NBA without question.

    Young should defintiely go as his stock is as high as it will ever be. The dunk in the UConn game probably iced his status as a mid to late lottery pick. The draft is all about potential for Young and he is chock-full of it. Staying would be a poor idea.

    WCS should probably go too. I think if he stays, and doesn’t turn into the next Anthony Davis (which he most definitely will not), his draft stock will fall. Right now he is still going to be drafted on potential based on his freakish athleticism for a 7 footer. Staying another year without HUGE improvement will probably drop him into the late 1st round, or 2nd round. He is ready, and needs, to play against NBA caliber front courts.

    The Harrisons probably should stay another year since they really came on only during the SEC tournament and the NCAA tournament. If they both continue playing like they did for the last 9 games of the seasons then they are probably both locks for the 1st round.

    Poythress should stay and try and build on his success this year as well. Poy absolutely benefits from stellar guard play which is something that has been lacking over the last 2 years. With improved Harrisons, and Ulis coming in, his numbers and confidence will go up. He can play himself into the 1st round next year. He is a bubble 1st rounder, likely 2nd rounder now.

    Johnson is a total wild card. He could be a late 1st rounder purely on potential. He improved significantly throughout the season and he is a legit 7 footer with some old-school post moves. He could use another year to build some more offense though. He is still very raw. I would be very surprised to see him go this year, but then again I was surprised when Daniel Orton went too.

  8. There are basically two major factors in this decision by these very talented young men: Economics and the college/enjoyment factor. If you or your families really need financial help, I would suggest to Randle, Young and Willie to go pro. Take care of your family. However, you only live once and college is a wonderful experience. Usually the first year is the toughest. It keeps getting better. Not only is college fun, but winning a national championship is something to tell you grandchildren about. Not many opportunities in life offer the kind of enjoyment a national championship does! Going pro is hard work. They don’t pay you millions to sit around and eat pizza. I say go pro if you really need the money now. If not, the pros will still want you next year and the year after. Have fun. Enjoy the college experience! Get an education!

  9. If WCS, Dakari and Marcus Lee all decide to stay at UK for another year, someone has got to go. You have two more highly rated BIGS coming next year in T. Lyles and Towns, and then you have Derek Willis who is also listed at 6’9. If this scenario plays itself out, I can see 1 or 2 guys transferring or de-committing even. Not enough PT to satisfy these kids.
    Poythress has the best reason to stay – right now – as well. If you look at the roster and those projected to come-in next year, he would be the only legit Small Forward, with necessary size and experience, to step in right away and contribute. He needs to work on his outside shooting and ball handling. You could tell all season long that he wasn’t very confident in those two areas.

  10. My first thought was “Only seven? It could be worse.” Daniel Orton was a 1st round pick, ya know. Who would you rather have, Orton or Marcus Lee?

    I’ll be very pleasantly surprised if we lose three or fewer to the draft, which would leave us in very good shape for next season. My guess is we lose 5 or 6. All these guys have room to improve but the NBA experts draft on potential.

    From what the experts say about Randle’s draft position (5 or so), it’s hard to imagine him moving up much higher. James Young could, with a dominating second season. WCS has been so inconsistent. I don’t understand why anyone would pay seven figures to hire him BEFORE he demonstrates some consistency. But I guess that goes back to drafting on potential. He’s probably my favorite player on the team this year; so much fun to watch when it looks like he’s really “shown up”. The Harrison twins too often looked like they were coasting, not really expecting the other team to play defense. When they need to, they can really get the job done. I wonder if Aaron’s heroics will propel him up the draft boards. I also wonder if they’ll figure that one can go pro, make the big bucks, and eliminate any financial pressure for the other. Probably wishful thinking on my part. Poythress is kinda like WCS – he shows flashes of greatness, but so inconsistent. Dakari could probably get drafted and get some NBA minutes, but I’d love to see him hone his skills at UK for a while. Marcus Lee – stranger things have happened than him being drafted. I sure hope he returns.

    It’d be fun if Dominique Hawkins calls a press conference to announce he is not entering the draft. I guess Polson and Hood can announce they are.

  11. If you don’t like the comparison of Randle and Thomas Robinson, fine. Lets compare Randle to Anthony Bennett who was the #1 OVERALL pick (Cleveland). Bennett actually has nearly perfect form on his shot…I heard analysts rave about his technique/mechanics….however, his maturity was not there. He shot just 35% FG and he was often out of the rotation. Yes, he did earn is $5.4M as #1 pick (Randle has never been projected higher than #5). The #5 from last year is Alex Len and his salary is $3.5M. Most agree Bennett will eventually be worth it but it is an ugly road to success.

    Now Randle does not forego the paycheck from the NBA, he postpones it. If he adds a national title that does build his brand overall and he stays in top 5 or gets to #1/2, then it is definitely worth it. For all the double-doubles he put up, the competition was not all that great and it was done on brute force and came with truckloads of turnovers (including getting stuffed an alarming amount). One more year ala Terrence Jones would be a good investment on readiness for him

  12. Chad you don’t know.

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